It all boils down to a matter of class. Does the Bronze level rider move up or stay at that level once capable of moving on? Does the coach of the winning team put in second and third string players to lessen the devastation on the other team? Whether the rider and/or coach has class will determine which it will be.
I was on a track team in high school that was entering it's 4th unbeaten year my first year on the team, they continued to go on unbeaten for another TEN or so years. With the exception of the teams with which we had intense rivalries, the coach would substitute the JV runners once we were clearly going to win.
He taught his teams good sportsmanship, something even more important than winning.
From a (purely amateur!) psychological standpoint, giving a reward for something someone did not do (ie: everyone goes home with a trophy, even the losers/losing team) is actually detrimental to the individual being rewarded in the long run.
Independence, confidence, and self-respect must be earned - by pursuing a challenge or goal and validating your self-worth by overcoming whatever the present challenge or goal is perceived to be. Narcissism, however, is bred when caretakers are obsessed with "boosting self-esteem". Studies have shown boosting self-esteem can actually increase narcissistic aggression in children. Reference
"Successful self-regulation is defined as the willingness to
exert effort toward one’s most important goals, while taking setbacks and
failures as opportunities to learn, identify weaknesses and address them,
and develop new strategies toward achieving those goals." The Pursuit of Self-Esteem: Contingencies of Self-Worth and Self-Regulation. Crocker, Brook, Niiya, & Villacorta, 2006. Links to full text.
This age group series was for girls 14-17 years of age, so well past the "little kid" stage
Crush them while smiling. It's a nice time to let the less talented players have fun. They may never get a chance to be this sort of player, dominating another team.
The whole "lets all pretend we're equal and, what the heck, we won't even allow people to keep score since some people might feel bad about themselves."
Hmmm, maybe we can make snotty smart students who study and pay attention take their "A's" away so the stupid/lazy students will not feel bad about themselves...that's fair? Oh, wait we've done that, no more valedictorians in many schools...it's too racist also, the white/asian/indian kids keep winning it.
Sometimes, crushing your oponent can be a lot of fun
Sometimes, crushing your opponent can be a lot of fun
Not only your opponent (opposing team, other riders in your division), though you're *quite* right, Trak - but any goal you set that you accomplish through your own hard work is a lot of fun, for me at least! I enjoy kicking my own butt quite a bit!
Unfortunately, kids never get to experience this if they always go home with a trophy, or everyone gets a blue ribbon. Just as much as I enjoy a good ride and a blue ribbon, I also feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I "top" myself, for example: get a better grade on that next paper, or finally get a nice canter transition I have been working on for months (we still don't have the transition! ).
When Suzy is always beating you - regardless of whether it is "fair" or not - maybe take a look at what she is doing that you are not. Then, if you do not have the means or drive to be at Suzy's level, find another goal, forget about Suzy, and find something you can excel at. Compare yourself to your previous accomplishments, not those of someone else. I did that for so long, and I still do it at times, and it is liable to drive a person insane.
I think a lot of gaining independence and self-worth is about being flexible in adjusting your goals and taking control of the situation, instead of being a victim of the situation.
For example: I did not have the money or motivation to be a great hunter. So, I reevaluated my goals. I got an OTTB and switched to eventing, where it was easier for me to set goals and correct mistakes (I also believe I was just meant to be an eventer, nothing against hunters!). For me, if I did not place in a hunter class, I had no idea why. However, if I do poorly on a dressage test, I can look at my scores and (with a grain of salt, sometimes) identify our weak spots and focus on improving them for our next go-round.
Life isn't fair - there will always be someone with more resources, who is better, smarter, thinner, and better looking than you. So my response to this thread is: focus on yourself, set goals for yourself. Those who really have the drive will navigate obstacles like resources (money, fancy horses, training) and talent.
Some good quotes:
"Natural talent, no matter how great, will never make up for a lack of basic knowledge and skill; but solid basics, combined with real desire and commitment, will make any rider great." Anne Kursinski.
"Hard work is good for the soul, and it keeps you from feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have time." Dave Thomas.
Crushing your EQUALS is fun. Crushing your superiors is even better.
Crushing weaker opponents because you can is lame. I *can* curbstomp 99% of people I play Trivial Pursuit with. That's why no one wants to play with me any more. So I try not to play people unless it's a fair fight (we had little to do at Mackinac on the mainland-the blacksmith and I used to have knock-down drag-out games. Other people didn't really play with us, they just hoped they eventually got a turn...) It's also very boring. There's no fun beating people who are clearly inferior to you.
If you have someone you simply can't beat the only thing to do is quit. I quit dancing Standard because all I ever did was come in last. Clearly, I suck too much and the judges are saying "find another style." But if they're only beating you because they SHOULD be competing at a higher level and just like shooting fish in a barrel, you are not the one with the problem.
Crushing your EQUALS is fun. Crushing your superiors is even better.
Crushing weaker opponents because you can is lame. I *can* curbstomp 99% of people I play Trivial Pursuit with. That's why no one wants to play with me any more. So I try not to play people unless it's a fair fight
Sometimes, you can't help but compete against weaker opponents, especially when they're sure they are brilliant/talented or just plain better than you are. Reality checks can be fun then.
I love Trivial Pursuit (played it a bunch at Mackinac too!)...but I suck at the music/sports categories..I don't know squat about organized sports or rock music...great in the other categories, but I need a partner to ever win due to these weak categories.
Playing Scrabble with the stupid or weak vocabulary people is horrid, same with chess...just not fun for anyone, that's where the games requiring luck are the great equalizers.
I agree that good sportsmanship doesn't include unneccessarily running up the score. I wouldn't throw a game to make someone else feel better, but I wouldn't set out to maximize their humiliation, either.